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Wellard Information Seminars “An industry window for WA farmers”

5 July 2011

The recent Wellard Information Seminars held in Hyfield, Kojonup on the 23rd of June and The Grange, Dongara on the 29th of June was a definite industry window for WA farmers. Wellard’s decision to host these seminars was due to the well-received inaugural Wellard Field Day, held last July at Hyfield Poll Merino Stud, Kojonup.

The ticketed seminars boasted healthy turnouts, where a total of $4,800 was raised thanks to Wellard matching donations dollar-for-dollar to local beneficiaries. Guests benefited as well, parting with good food, prizes and invaluable industry trends and tips from prominent speakers across the industry.

Both seminars were well attended and raised $1,200 each. ALL donations went to the Kojonup Fire Brigade, Kojonup District High School Chaplaincy and Dongara District High School Chaplaincy.

The seminars kicked off with a welcome speech from Wellard Rural Export Managing Director Steve Meerwald, followed by an update on his recent visit to Canberra, addressing reopening the live cattle trade in the near future and his support for MLA.

Altogether, the six guest speakers’ diversified backgrounds from the seminars proved to be a good mix as each delivered varied insights in the industry.

The bulk of the presentations were on sheep health and breeding: lamb-breeding and feeding by Mark Ferguson of DAFWA / Murdoch University, DAFWA’s Anna Erikson on Ovine Johne’s Disease while Andrew Kennedy from UWA lent his insights on genetics and increasing lamb production. Mike Cameron from Cherylton Farms Kojonup touched on self-replacing composites and new discoveries in prime lamb production and Gavin Craig from Pfizer Animal Health shared a talk Ovine Johne’s Disease.

Nuffield Scholars brought a wealth of information to all, touching on the diversity decreasing risks and increases opportunity and grazing cereal and canola crops to achieve stocking rates of 100 DSE. Stuart McCullough from the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) entertained with an engaging video-filled presentation and signed deal with fashion giant, Giorgio Armani.

Other talks included legal advice for farm owners from Leaker Partners, grazing systems specialising on perennial grass by Craig Forsyth of Avoca Farms Mingenew and farm consultant Tim Johnston of Bedbrook Johnston Williams on the enterprise mix and the big picture.

With featured CLAAS equipment on display and representatives of CLAAS at the seminars, producers had a chance to browse and forward all their queries with ease.
The presentations ended with a panel session with speakers answering questions from the floor, followed by the long awaited draw with prizes donated by Pfizer Animal Health. A lucky Nils Billman won the main prize, a Sheep Grain Feeder LF3 2S (valued at $1,760) donated by Advantage Feeders.

The seminars came to a close with a BBQ dinner enjoyed by all. Overall, producers and guests were pleased with the knowledge acquired from the seminar, with positive feedback passed on.